Movie Recommendations for Winter Break

The Cove: The Cove is a documentary about dolphin slaughtering in the small fishing town of Taiji, Japan. While the town tries to cover up this dark secret, Ric O’Berry goes on a crusade to expose the illegal industry. O’Berry, best known as the trainer for the TV show “Flipper” or the inadvertent creator of the somewhat lucrative dolphin show industry, now constructs “The Cove” with passionate determination for his cause: saving the dolphins. If “save the whales” was the humanitarian mantra of the 80’s, “The Cove” is the vanguard of the new oceanic cause for this generation of activists. The story is well crafted, balancing investigation with information, while creating a captivating story about the most lovable creatures of the sea. It’s disappointing to know that this documentary will pass relatively unseen this year. This movie is definitely worth the watch, though it may be heartbreaking to learn about the cruelty to which hundreds of dolphins are subjected on a daily basis. “The Cove” will be available on DVD December 8th. Grade: 6+ Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire: “Precious” leaves audiences with the impression that perseverance is the key to life. The story follows actress Mo’Nique playing Clarisse Precious Jones, an overweight African American girl moseying through a painful world. Her mother, who considers her daughter as a rival for her husband’s affection, constantly harasses Precious, who is pregnant with her father’s child. Despite such adversities, Precious finds solace in the dreams she harbors in an ABC reading and writing class at an alternative school where she has enrolled herself. Director Lee Daniels extrapolates fantastic performances from every member of his cast, including Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz. The camerawork is purposefully scattered, lacking form with rough, rushed close-ups. The constantly moving camera seems to distract and detract from the story at times, but in moments of tension it only heightens the suspense. The movie displays enough hope for the audience to barely sustain through every bit of depression and tragedy thrown the characters’ way. Although a powerful film, this is not the “Slumdog Millionaire” of 2009. The movie does not leave its viewers ready to tackle the world on whatever terms it presents, but it makes them wonder in a more contemplative tone asking, “What do I do to do more than survive?” At least that’s what Precious does. She survives and strives to live a fulfilling life. Grade: 5+ Fantastic Mr. Fox: Roald Dahl’s children’s classic “Fantastic Mr. Fox” is now a movie, directed by Wes Anderson. Using painstakingly created stop-motion photography, this movie follows sneaky Mr. Fox, his wife and his cubs through the ups and downs of living in an underground community of animals who steal food and supplies from the farmers who live above. After taking a few chickens too many, however, the animals are on the run, trying to survive the vengeful traps of Boggis, Bunce and Bean, the odorous farmers who are determined to put an end to Mr. Fox and his friends once and for all. The movie is good fun all around and full of dry humor and cleverly verbose characters, voiced by big name actors and actresses like George Clooney and Meryl Streep. Achingly funny for kids and adults alike, “Fantastic Mr. Fox” is a worthy pick to see over winter vacation. Grade: 5+